As often as not, women tend to shy away from managing their finances, giving their power away and overall preventing them from reaching their full potential. I know I was one of them. Whatever the reason for the lack of financial literacy, it’s never too late to change your life by taking ownership of your money.

What is financial literacy?

Financial literacy means understanding your overall financial wellness. It usually starts with financial planning. Financial literacy topics might include saving money, investment, debt management, retirement, and college funds. It implies understanding how much money you will need when you retire, what are the different types of investments, how to manage debts and credit cards and optimize taxes. Traditionally, women have not been educated about finance. For a long time, it has been a man’s world. However, it is changing dramatically because women are being successful financially. Women are getting organized and becoming financially savvy and supporting other women. According to McKinsey & Company, $30 trillion (equivalent to the size of the US GDP) will be controlled by women in 2030. So this is an exciting time for women! More than ever, there are tons of resources available to help women reach their full potential.

Financial literacy and women education. A woman reading on her phone in front of her computer.

In her excellent book “Rewire Your Brain, three steps women can take to program her brain for financial success,” Barbara Huson says:

“I learned that women’s and men’s brains process financial information differently. Men see investing in the market as a challenge. Women see investing as a threat. Since our prehistoric brains were wired for the sole purpose of survival, anytime we feel threatened, our rational brain shuts down, sending us into fight, flight, or freeze mode”

For a long time, I saw money as dirty and dull. I treated money as an afterthought. Managing finance was a big black hole. I did not save money or have a financial plan. I had no idea what it ever meant. Like many women, I was not educated about money and I had no financial literacy.

“According to a recent Fidelity survey, over 80 percent of women, no matter how much they have or how smart they are, admitted they weren’t protecting themselves financially”

So to help women gain their full potential, the first step should be to educate them about managing their finances. Financial literacy means building the brain muscle to see money as something fun and plentiful. Money is the power to build the life we want and move the world in a more empathetic direction.

Educate Yourself

Financial literacy education is a critical skill to acquire for women. Women tend to be better at thinking about long-term investment

8 books to get you started on your financial education

1.Rewire Your Brain, three steps women can take to program her brain for financial success, by Barbara Huson

What it’s about: 

Women tend to shy away from investing and taking charge of their finances. Huson explores how the mental blockage women develop over time prevents them from reaching their full potential in managing finances. She provides concrete actions to move into a life of wealth, abundance, and financial leadership.

2. Unleash Your Financial Powerhouse: Practical Steps to Money Mastery 

What it’s about: 

In this comprehensive book, Adam Bar guides you to discover simple, actionable steps designed to help you achieve your life goals and gain financial power, confidence, and dignity. The author shares practical tools that will transform your relationship with money in order to live a rich, powerful, and fulfilled life.

3. The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life

What it’s about: 

This liberating book shows us that examining our attitudes toward money―earning it, spending it, and giving it away―offers surprising insight into our lives. Through personal stories and practical advice, Lynne Twist asks us to discover our relationship with money, understand how we use it, and by assessing our core human values, align our relationship with it to our desired goals. In doing so, we can transform our lives.

4. Stop Giving Your Power Away–What Every Woman Should Know

What it’s about: 

This book is a conversation starter with herself to stop the self-loathing, tolerance and hiding that girl people do so well, a seed inside her soul that sprouts confidence, love, and self-support.

5. Every Woman Should Know Her Options: Invest Your Way To Financial Empowerment

What it’s about: 

Whether you hire a financial advisor to manage your money or manage it yourself, this book will put you on the path to financial empowerment. Learn how to grow your money by investing like the pros • Use options to generate income and lower your risk in the stock market • Stop paying high fees on your investments • Overcome obstacles women face in achieving financial independence.

6. Women Don’t Ask

What it’s about: 

Women Don’t Ask explores how our institutions, child-rearing practices, and implicit assumptions discourage women from asking for the opportunities and resources that they have earned and deserve―perpetuating inequalities that are fundamentally unfair and economically unsound. Women Don’t Ask tells women how to ask, and why they should.

7. The One-Page Financial Plan

8. The Prosperous Coach

Financial Literacy Additional Resources

Workshop: Startups, Women, and Wealth: Getting Started with Angel & Venture Investing (Online)

Follow Kristin Hull, founder of Nia Impact Capital. You can read her blog post Giving up the patriarchy here.

Wise Community is a global community of remarkable women brought together by a shared commitment to advancing sustainable investing.

Podcasts:

Invest For Better invest for Better is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that brings women together as a community to help them take control of their assets and invest them for a better world.

How to Spend Your Money To Create A Better World

How To Follow Your Values To Lead Your Life With Kate Byrne

Women Put Their Money (and Jobs) Where Their Mouths Are

Invest with your values

Is your bank using your money to invest in fossil fuels? Research where your bank invests its money and make sure it is aligned with your values. Knowing your money is not used to destroy the world is a great way to feel empowered. The banks below are mission-driven, either focusing on women or the environment. It is a great way to start making a difference.

  • Ellevest
  • Aspiration
  • Beneficial State Bank
  • First Climate Bank
  • First Women’s Bank
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